Women & Their Menstrual Cycles
Women today have an estimated 450 periods during their lifetime –three times as many as our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who started menstruating later and spent many more years pregnant or nursing. Because periods have become a larger part of women’s lives, many feel its effects in ways they do not welcome and admit they do not always feel friendly toward their monthly “friend.”
In addition to mixed feelings about their periods, many women have little knowledge about how their menstrual cycle works. Many believe it is natural to have a period while on the birth control pill when, in fact, monthly bleeding that occurs during the seven-day break from the pill is not menstrual bleeding at all but a symptom of short-term hormone deprivation known as withdrawal bleeding.
Furthermore, many believe it is possible to get pregnant or ovulate during their menstrual period, which is not the case.
A recent survey from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, examined women’s attitudes and knowledge about their menstrual cycle. Following are some highlights from the survey.
How Does the Period Affect Women Today?
Women regularly experience the physical and emotional symptoms of the menstrual cycle in the week before and during their periods:
- 84% report feeling bloated
- 84% report feeling moody
- 81% report having cramps
- 80% report feeling irritable
- 78% report feeling fatigued
- 67% report feelings of anger
Before and during their periods, 62% of women report an increased desire for sex, but 74% sometimes (33%) or many times (41%) say their symptoms have caused them to “miss sex.”
Many women report experiencing severe symptoms during menstruation. 64% of the respondents often or sometimes experience heavy bleeding, and 63% experience “really bad cramps.”
How Women Feel About the Impact of Menstruation on Their Life
Menstruation has effects on both the emotional and physical state of any woman. During this period, a woman may go through mental distress such as Premenstrual exacerbation or PMS. And also it can cause muscle pain, fatigue, and breast tenderness.
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Impact of Menstruation on Physical health
The list of physical symptoms in women during their menstruation is given below.
- Weight gain
- Stomach issues
But these symptoms are temporary, and they’re usually gone within four days after getting your period. But the emotional distress can last longer depending on the woman is handling her menstruation.
Impact of Menstruation on Mental Health
Here’s a list of emotional distress caused by your period.
- Premenstrual exacerbation
PMS can trigger both physical and mental discomfort during menstruation. And you may feel the symptoms of PMS during any time of your period cycle. However, the experience may vary from person to person, so the effect can be lighter or more intense on you.
The signs of PMS are-
- Muscle ache
- Excessive appetite
- Breast tenderness
- Disrupted sleep cycle
When PMS symptoms take a bad turn, it’s called PMDD. In this stage, the PMS symptoms become severe. The PMDD signs include:
- Severe depression and anxiety
- Uncontrollable mood swings
- Frequent episodes of crying and sadness
- Lose of interest in anything
- Suicidal thoughts
As women go through hormonal changes before their period, their mental conditions worsen. And this effect is called premenstrual exacerbation.
Signs of this issue are:
- Bipolar disorder
- Panic disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Dysthymic disorder
Women also go through insomnia and changes in libido when they got period. You can overcome this issue by bringing lifestyle changes. If you can’t get rid of these problems, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Here’s a survey on women’s opinions on period.
- 77% view their menstrual periods as something they must put up with.
- 74% feel men have an advantage because they do not have their period.
- 47% would like to decide when or if to have a period.
- 43% feel they must adjust their lives when they have their period.
- 40% would prefer never to have their period if given a choice.
Is It Natural for a woman to get her period, even if she is on the pill?
According to the ARHP survey, 67% believe it’s natural for a woman to get her period, even if she is on the pill.
The 28-day menstrual cycle, while on hormonal contraception, is manufactured. The pill developers designed the medication to cause a monthly bleed every 28 days, believing that women would feel more comfortable if they continued to bleed each month.
Symptoms that Indicate that You Should Contact Your Doctor About Your Period
Periods can be painful; there’s no doubt about that. But if the cramps are intolerable and you’re getting more troubled than usual, it may indicate some severe health conditions.
If you’re having the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider promptly.
- When you’re bleeding more than usual or bleeding between your periods.
- If your period is longer than usual or you have excruciating pain.
- If you are 16 and didn’t get your period.
- If your period stops suddenly and you feel sick after using a tampon.
What is Menstrual Suppression?
Menstrual suppression is a treatment that stops women from getting their period. It’s a safe option for those who have experienced at least one menstruation cycle.
If you have the following conditions, you can consider getting this treatment.
- If you experience heavy bleeding and intolerable cramps
- If you have endometriosis
- If your other health conditions, such as seizures, headaches, or chronic pain, get worse during your period.
- If any woman has a physical disability and can’t maintain hygiene standards during her period.
Menstrual suppression doesn’t come with any restrictions. Women of any age can embrace this treatment.
What Are the Conditions for Getting Menstrual Suppression?
To get Menstrual Suppression, you have to perform the following tests.
- A pelvic exam is needed before performing this treatment.
- The doctor will check your medical history before suggesting your treatment plan.
Well, menstrual suppression doesn’t have any on your fertility. Moreover, it doesn’t trigger any cancer in your body. This treatment is safe for any woman if done correctly.
Is it natural not to have a period?
According to the ARHP survey, 66% are very or somewhat worried that it just doesn’t seem natural not to have a period, and 89% are very or somewhat worried that there might be long-term health effects if they delay or stop their period.
Many OB/GYNs say that a monthly period is not medically necessary. According to a Gallup1 survey, 99% of female OB/GYNs view menstrual suppression – the daily use of oral contraceptives to stop monthly periods – as safe for their patients.
Are women attached to their monthly visitor, “Aunt Flo?”
The ARHP survey found women have little affection for their period. Only 8% say that, in some ways, they enjoy their period.
About the Survey
The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) commissioned Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to conduct a web survey of 1,021 women between the ages of 18-40 who had not had hysterectomies and were not currently trying to get pregnant. Respondents were selected randomly from a panel of Knowledge Networks research participants.
The Knowledge Networks panel, which uses telephone recruiting and provides internet access to its participants, is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. In-depth interviews were also conducted with 25 OB/GYNs, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who have patient contact and prescribe contraceptives.
About The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) is a non-profit membership association composed of highly qualified and committed experts in reproductive health. Its members are health professionals in clinical practice, education, research, and advocacy. They include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, researchers, educators, pharmacists, and other professionals in reproductive health
About Greenberg Quinlan Rosner
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is a global leader in public opinion research and strategic consulting, working with non-profits, corporations, issue groups, and political campaigns throughout the United States and worldwide.
The Gallup Organization, in September 2003, conducted a national survey of the health habits of women obstetrician-gynecologists for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
The survey interviewed, via telephone, 301 women OB/GYNs, via a representative sample of female Fellow and Junior Fellow members of ACOG who currently practice in the U.S. The survey had an estimated error rate due to sampling and other random effects of plus or minus seven percentage points (95% confidence level).
Here’s the Menstruation and Menstrual Suppression Survey – Fact Sheet Current Perspectives you need to see. We’ve included all the necessary data here; thus, you don’t have to go elsewhere to get enlightened.
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